Palisades from the West

The Palisades contain some of the most majestic and rugged terrain anywhere in the Sierra.


At the heart of this region is a ridgeline containing five peaks above 14,000’/4267m:  Mt. Sill (14,153’/4314m), Polemonium Peak (14,200’/4328m), North Palisade Peak (14,242’/ 4341’), Starlight (14,200’/4328m), and Thunderbolt Peak (14,002’/4268m).  During this 5-day trip we will attempt to climb all of them.  During the summer months, the standard routes from the west require rock climbing mostly at a 3rd class level with a few occasional 4th class moves.  On some of the routes we traverse the Palisade Crest between the peaks where the terrain requires scrambling, down climbing, and rock climbing with sometimes considerable exposure.  Team members are roped up on all terrain containing potential for a fall.  Starlight and Thunderbolt contain “summit blocks” with rock climbing difficulty ratings of 5.7 and 5.8, respectively.  The rock is high quality granite, the climbing is fun and exhilarating, and the views are considered by many to be the finest anywhere in the Sierra!

Polemonium Peak, elevation 14,080 feet
North Palisade Peak, elevation 14,242 feet, 4341m
Starlight Peak, elevation 14,200 feet
Thunderbolt Peak, elevation 14,003 feet, 4268m
Mt. Sill, elevation 14,162 feet, 4316m
Length of Trip: 5 Days
Difficulty Rating: Class 3-4, Grades 5.7/5.8 at summits


$1,250 based on min 2 people
Private guiding also available


June 17-21, 2020
August 5-9, 2020
August 12-16, 2020
August 24-28, 2020


The group meets at SMI office in Bishop on the morning of the first day of the trip.  After some introductions and equipment checks we will divide group loads and finish packing our packs.  We drive to the South Lake parking lot and hike the Bishop Pass trail.   Our goal is to go over Bishop Pass and establish our camp at Palisade Basin.  Days 2-4 will be spent climbing the peaks.  The itinerary will vary depending on group preferences.  The final day is devoted to hiking back over Bishop Pass and descending to the parking lot.  We are usually back by mid afternoon.